Sanchez’s big night justifies Girardi’s decision
The Alex Rodriguez apologists in the media got all over Yankees manager Joe Girardi for not starting the soon-to-be-released designated hitter Wednesday night at Fenway Park against Red Sox lefthander Drew Pomeranz.
Girardi simply felt the Yankees had a better chance with rookie Gary Sanchez in the DH spot. So was the skipper wrong? All Sanchez did was get four hits, including his first major league home run, to help fortify a Yankees’ comeback from a 4-1 deficit for a startling 9-4 victory in a nine-inning marathon that took four hours and 15 minutes to complete due primarily to 13 pitching changes combined for both teams.
A-Rod did get an at-bat in the turnaround inning for the Yanks, the five-run seventh that included a hit and a run scored by Sanchez. Rodriguez batted for Aaron Hicks with two on and none out and the Yankees down by two runs. A-Rod flied out to deep right field with Sanchez crossing to third base. A strikeout of Brett Gardner appeared to put a stake in the heart of the rally, but RBI singles by Jacoby Ellsbury and Chase Headley and a clutch, two-run double by Starlin Castro thrust the Yankees into the lead.
They added three runs in the eighth with Sanchez leading off with a bomb to center field. The other two runs scored on two of reliever Robbie Ross’ three wild pitches.
On the negative side for the Yanks, starter Nathan Eovaldi had to come out of the game after one inning because of right elbow soreness, which forced Girardi to go deep into his bullpen using seven relievers.
With Eovaldi out of the game, the official scorer has the discretion of awarding the winning decision to an effective reliever and chose Tyler Clippard, who allowed four base runners (three hits and one intentional walk) but no runs. My choice would have been Adam Warren, who set down the six batters he faced with two strikeouts.
With all the moves the Yankees have made this month, Warren has been somewhat overlooked. He went to the Cubs over the winter in the Castro trade and was reacquired last month in the deal that sent Aroldis Chapman to Wrigleyville. Since his return to the Yankees, Warren has retired 26 of 32 batters in nine scoreless innings during which he has yielded four hits and two walks with eight strikeouts.
A-Rod watchers will be happy to see that Boston’s change in a starting pitcher from previously-scheduled knuckleballer Steven Wright to Eduardo Rodriguez Thursday night did not change the manager’s mind about the DH spot. A-Rod will be in their against E-Rod (no relation). The computer did not work against A-Rod, either. He entered the game a .385 career hitter with a double and a home run in 13 at-bats against his namesake. Sanchez was also in the starting lineup behind the plate with fellow catcher Austin Romine at first base giving a breather to Mark Teixeira.
As for Friday night at Yankee Stadium against the Rays to open a six-game homestand when Rodriguez will play his final game for the Yankees he will again be the DH. Rodriguez told a radio audience Friday that his request to play third base one last time was rejected by Girardi.
Who can blame the manager? Rodriguez has not worn a glove on the field since May 23 last year when he played one inning at first base in a 15-4 loss to the Rangers at the Stadium. A-Rod’s most recent game at third base was May 19 last year for three innings in an 8-6, 10-inning loss at Washington.